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What If Mount Vesuvius Erupted Again?

Updated 14 Aug 2019 142.4k views14 items

Looming over Naples, Italy, Mount Vesuvius is a monument to its own destructive past. It's also a sleeping giant that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who live and work around its base. When the volcano famously erupted in 79 CE, it utterly wiped out the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum - as well as the populations that lived there. Writing about the event with both awe and horror, Pliny the Younger gave history the first-ever eye-witness account of a volcanic eruption.

Since 79 CE, the volcano has erupted 30 times. The most notable of these later eruptions occurred in 1631 and may have resulted in as many as 6,000 casualties. The most recent was in 1944, when Vesuvius launched debris into the air and claimed the lives of 26 people. However, none of those quakes came close to the power of the famous eruption, or the apocalyptic eruptions of the distant past.

The truly frightening thing about Vesuvius is that, based on geological research, it has reached its due date. When the volcano finally erupts, it may blow with the force of several hundred atomic detonations. So, what if Vesuvius erupted today? Here's a look at what that would mean for the people of Naples, Europe, and the world as a whole.

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